The Meaning of Bravery
What is bravery? What does bravery mean to you?
As I look back throughout my college years, I realize that there is no one in this world who is truly living without completing an act of bravery.
Bravery is the robust conviction to genuinely express yourself, to live as you are unapologetically, and to rationally trust others despite the fearful hesitations that arise from roots of external betrayal, abandonment, or neglect.
We are all brave in our own distinctive ways. If you choose to believe in something good, you are already being brave. If you are choosing to trust who you are and who you are becoming, you are also being brave.
Sometimes, my retrospective memories during my 20 years of living result in captured paradoxes. The more I learn, the more I learn how I have a lot more to learn. I’ve also realized that learning requires unlearning. For example, I find that the more I try with the “hustle culture” we live in, the less I succeed in getting the results I want. This approach may work for becoming physically stronger or reaching greater financial status, but when it comes to the delicate, fragile, and messy aspects of dealing with our individual journeys of healing, this paradoxical nature rings true:
Our feelings and emotions are not meant to be rushed into a state of immediate goodness, groundedness, and joy through our persistent attempts to make it so, because healing is not a linear process.
Instead, it is like Mother Nature’s seasons – fluctuations of the ups and downs bring drenched heaviness on one day, radiating warmth on the next, flourished vitality on the other, and so on and so forth.
Just as how the beauty of nature surprises us with the unanticipated glory of its lush and pristine views, our mental moods may surprise us with its profound effect on our perceived viewpoints towards the world around us.
We live in a world where we find comfort in control, and seek to standardize measured success through the placements of limits, whether that be through our school letter grades, GPAs, financial status, or the quantities in our bank accounts. However, this must not be how we approach the subjectivities and inconsistencies of our unique internal worlds.
The transitory nature of complete recovery, healing, and growth makes it difficult to standardize as we create comfort in controlled measurements.
By acknowledging, accepting, and willingly understanding our lack of control to our moods, we become more skilled at managing and expressing our internal intuitions to our external atmospheres. In essence, we must unlearn the forceful cling to certainty with our endlessly untamed emotions, because pain can never be conquered by force. What you resist is what will persist.
We must learn to approach our mental world in a new light, by altering our internal operations from a place of lack, into a place of abundance. Instead of pressuring ourselves into happiness through a constant longingness for our euphoria, we must learn to conscientiously approach the elements of our well-being through one of the primary foundations of self-love: bravery.
Be brave enough to feel and validate your feelings without self-sabotage,
to show up for yourself everyday with gentle compassion,
to receive closure and forgiveness from all that is not serving you,
and to trust fearlessly in a world that, oftentimes, makes it difficult to see how good it can be.
Another paradox rings true when it comes to one of the primary building blocks of all kinds of connections: trust.
Trusting others is an act of self-reliance. To trust others is to trust yourself.
Trusting yourself is not about the lack of sadness and pain when people leave; rather, it is about the rooted, stable, and grounded belief that you will learn and grow and continue to be okay after the stages of loss and completion of grief.
It is the integration of knowledge that temporary heartbreak from external sources slowly evolves into permanent love from the internal, highest source that is YOU.
The more I let go of any expectations or attachments, the more I receive sensations of wholeness and sustainable connections. This is what it means to be self-reliant.
Self-reliance does not equate to greediness. While the former stems from high self-efficacy and confidence, the latter stems from inward instability and low self-esteem. The act of trusting oneself is not an act of selfishness; rather, it paves way to possible acts of selflessness by giving your true, wholehearted, beautiful self to the world. When you sincerely give yourself to others, you allow the power of trust to seep into your relational dynamics. By letting others in, you let yourself and your loved ones savor the reciprocal flourishing of belonging, connection, and joy.
When the importance of sharing your truth overcomes your fear of any shame, judgment, or rejection, the outcomes you never thought would have existed appear to sprout inside the land of your potential. Your limits start to expand, your intrinsic motivations start to enhance, and your hesitations surrounding vulnerability begin to dissipate.
When you are brave enough to say what is on your mind and what is in your heart, you trust that the people who choose to listen are the ones that will stay.
There is an unspoken strength in the softness that stems from what makes us human: our hearts. When you open yourself up with the courage to speak from the center of your core, you successfully emulate a person to be proud of: an embodiment of authenticity.
Words are seeds to plant ideas, while the mind is fertile ground for the blossoming of actions towards lived potential.
Even if your words are met with invalidation or rejection, your own authenticity surpasses everything and anything that destabilizes who you are. By prioritizing your integrity above all else, you prioritize your peace. By listening to your inner voice, you set yourself free.
Bravery and courage are two of the many components to live a meaningful life. When you give yourself to the world, the world will give back to you.
Life is too short to not express how you feel, to not share your love for others, and to dim your light for the sake of those who are too envious or shameful to see it shine. Now more than ever, it is time for all of us to be our wholeheartedly brave and authentic selves.
To be brave is to be you.
(For everyone who has helped me feel radiantly alive this winter quarter, thank you. <3)
It's been a hot minute since I have implemented a Music Monday song rec! In honor of this post, here's today's song recommendation: Brave by Sara Bareilles. This one's pretty self-explanatory. Listen for some good vibes; this one's an oldie but also a definite goodie. :)
As always, sending much love and light for all. <3